During the process of writing For the Clan, I had to dig deep into the real world and pull out bits that worked. The book took me into a direction that I don’t normally go: a futuristic version of Canada with a dystopian spin. Usually I create whole new worlds, but this one wanted to stay firmly on Earth. And it turned out to be such an angsty outlook on Canada. Like, really, really angsty. It took me awhile, but I think I figured out why: other than the fact I love writing dark and angsty plots and characters, there’s a little thing called politics. At the time, I was pretty pissed off at what federal government was doing with our country and the road we were headed down. For the Canadians reading this, you know what I mean.
One word: Harper. Had that line of political thought and disgusting discrimination continued, we wouldn’t have recognized our country.
So there’s THAT, one solid fact about the book that underlies the whole thing.
But wait, there’s more!
I thought I’d share a few of the facts about the book, just because I like sharing and some of it I found terribly interesting. So here we go…
For the Clan: Trivia and Fun Facts
(#1) Jace’s clan was named Teach because I was watching Crossbones at the time (TV show about the famous pirate, Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach). I thought it worked well, in a weird sort of way.
(#2) The Sigma program is named after sigma receptors, which are affected by drugs. When I was thinking about Roan, his tattoos, and the program he was enrolled in, I kept thinking sigma was in there somewhere. I didn’t know why, just that it sounded like it belonged. When I looked up the use of sigma in the scientific world, I discovered its biological connection. It’s also used in statistics to denote standard deviation; or rather, the deviation from the statistical normal. I immediately knew I had to go with sigma: the word play made me laugh so hard, it’s embarrassing.
(#3) The clan’s gas masks are based off the M50 Joint Service General Purpose mask that’s in use right now by the United States armed forces.
(#4) The locations are based off of real places. The fight between the military and rogue element is based off a mall in London, Ontario that I visit monthly, and it really is north of a university (my alma mater, actually… love you, Western U!). The prologue is based off a couple towns on Lake Huron where my grandmother lives – they’ve been a big part of my life as much as my hometown and London, involving many a summer vacation and family Christmas. (Incidentally, she’s the same grandmother who writes.)
(#5) The “burning monks” mentioned are inspired by real incidents. The photograph referenced is that of Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk. He burned himself to death at a busy intersection in Saigon, Vietnam on June 11, 1963, in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by the government. The chilling photograph, taken by Malcolm Browne, has been famous since. (Don’t look it up if you’re easily queasy.)
(#6) Nannie’s name is pronounced “Nah-nee” rather than “Nan-nee”. The spelling was inspired by a nickname given to Anne Boleyn (Black Nan) and ties back to Roan’s mother, Anna.
Although a fun fact I’ve learned recently: in the mid-1800s, members of the Newash tribe were still in Owen Sound, a major town which is roughly a 30 minute drive from Port Elgin and Southampton (the towns featured in For the Clan’s prologue). At the time, their leader was Chief Senegal, who had a daughter… named Nah-nee-bah-wee-quay (“Upright Woman”). [According to Owen Sound: The Port City by Paul White] In a strange way, that ties the beginning and end of For the Clan together, all within the concept of a nomadic society and matters of the people versus government. Mind. Blown.
(#7) The character Winchester was named after the Winchester rifle. Yeah, I went there.
I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that are the major facts worth sharing!